Russia vetoes UN resolution to condemn Syria chemical attack

Russia vetoes UN resolution to condemn Syria chemical attack

The United States and Russia have laid bare their deep and risky divides on Syria and other matters, as USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson left an nearly two-hour meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin with the sense the countries have reached a "low point" in relations.

World leaders had called for a probe into the "barbaric" attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week, which caused an worldwide outcry and prompted a retaliatory USA missile strike. The jet dropped sarin on the western Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 70 civilians.

The talks appeared unlikely to bring any significant breakthroughs after last week's missile strike plunged U.S.

He said the two sides would also discuss disagreements on Syria and how to end the country's six-year civil war.

There were only a handful of issues Tillerson and Lavrov said they broadly agreed on - that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized, that Syria should be "unified and stable" after the Islamic State is defeated, and that there should be more communication between US and Russian diplomats and militaries.

"We have just had a long, two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin", Lavrov said.

As Tillerson sat down for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, a senior Russian official assailed the "primitiveness and loutishness" of USA rhetoric, part of a volley of statements that appeared timed to maximize the awkwardness during the first visit to Moscow by a member of Trump's cabinet.

He named two conditions.

Mr Tillerson also called for Assad to eventually relinquish power. The second condition was the United States conduct no additional strikes on government targets.

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He said working groups would be established to improve U.S. And despite a 2013 agreement, in which the Assad administration said it would give up its chemical weapons, US officials now believe that the Syrian government has re-established its use of the weapons.

"If they [Syria] use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price", he said.

"To my colleagues from Russian Federation - you are isolating yourselves from the global community every time one of Assad's planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians and every time Assad tries to starve another community to death", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told 15-member Security Council. "No", Trump said. But, he added, "I see them using gas.we have to do something".

"We reject any accusations to this effect and would like to remind everyone that Russian Federation has been the only country to demand an unbiased worldwide inquiry into the circumstances of the use of toxic chemicals near Idlib from the very start", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The polarised positions were evident too at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, when Russian Federation vetoed a Western-drafted resolution that would have required Syrian cooperation in an investigation into the suspected chemical attack.

In a statement aired by Syrian state TV, the army said that the incident proved ISIS and Al-Qaida-linked militants "posses chemical weapons".

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said it was Russia's eighth veto in support of President Bashar Assad's regime and asked: "How could anyone look at the faces of lifeless children" and yet veto this resolution? Lavrov said it was tilted to blame Assad.

Before meeting Putin, Tillerson received a chilly reception from Lavrov, who told Tillerson that Russian Federation was trying to understand the "real intentions" of the Trump administration.

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